With the pending lawsuit that Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has filed against Los Angeles for first responders taking and showing photographs of the death scene to people outside of official capacities, it has become a back and forth between the two parties.
According to USA Today, Bryant, who is suing the county of Los Angeles for negligence and invasion of privacy, has accused county sheriff and fire department employees of sharing photos from the scene of the helicopter crash that took the lives of her husband, Kobe, and daughter, Gianni, along with 7 others. Los Angeles, in response, has stated in a new court filing that Bryant is leading a fishing expedition that is taking first responders away from their jobs. They also are claiming that this is also subjecting them to harassment after she sued them and posted four of the names of the responders on Instagram in March.
“This straightforward case, with undisputed facts, has turned into a fishing expedition that is taking first responders away from their jobs — and subjecting them to public harassment and threats,” it states in a filing submitted in federal court this week by attorneys for the county. “Defendants are eager to have their day in court and put an end to this.”
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Last month, in another court filing, the county of Los Angeles had stated, “The accident was now close to 1.5 years ago, and there has been no public dissemination” of the photos, the county’s filing said. “Hypothetical harm is not a basis for a lawsuit. Nor is it a basis for `no stone left unturned’ discovery against public entities and first responders.”
Last week, the Los Angeles County Fire Department conducted an investigation and have concluded that two firefighters took several photos of the dead bodies at the scene of the helicopter crash. The firefighters then sent the pictures to another firefighter, a media relations officer who had appeared at the scene. A month later, the third firefighter shared the images with other off-duty firefighters and their wives and girlfriends while attending an awards ceremony at a Hilton hotel.
The two firefighters were sent “intention to discharge” letters late last year in December. The third firefighter received an “intention to suspend” letter.